Monday, May 25, 2009

Reality Check

This blog was originally meant for just a few friends who are interested in the Classic. Readership has grown so much faster than I thought it would though, I figured it's time to have a reality check. This race is great the way it is. Nobody wants it overrun by wannabes and gumbies getting themselves in over their heads because they read someone's blog.

Call this blog entry a disclaimer, call it the fine print, call it whatever you want. The point of this entry is to convince you not to do the Wilderness Classic. I realize that for a certain subset of the population, this post will be a "call to action" and a challenge to do the race. If that's you, you're exactly the type of person who should not run the Classic.

If you can't get off the couch right now and do an ultra marathon, you shouldn't even think about doing this race. I'm not talking about on a paved bike-path, I'm talking about through the woods with no trail, over mountain passes and through rivers contending with dangerous wildlife and unpredictable conditions.

The men and women who run the Classic are a different breed. They don't seek or need outside ego affirmation. They are the real deal and they are world class athletes. Fitness is only one aspect of this race though. You need superb wilderness skills, stellar fitness and the ability to operate at 110% in potentially life and death situations contending with little sleep and exhaustion.

There's no safety net in the Classic like there is in other adventure races. There are no TV cameras, there are no aid tents and there are no prizes. When you finish the race in some small Alaskan town, no one will be there to applaud. Most locals will look at you like you're crazy and have no idea what you're doing. Most people have never heard of the Classic.

This race is not the place or time to "find yourself" or test your skills and fitness. This race is hard-core. I'm not joking. If, for some crazy reason, you find yourself at the start line and you're not scared, then you have no idea what you're doing. Veteran racers have dropped out minutes before the race has started because it didn't feel right. There's no shame in doing that because this is dangerous and you must be in "The Zone" merely to finish.

"The Eco-Challenge is about perceived danger and actual safety. The Wilderness Classic is about perceived safety and actual danger". Quote from prior race organizer.

"The stress and intensity of the Wilderness Classic is as close as a civilian can come to experiencing actual combat". Quote from prior race winner and Vietnam veteran.

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